Onishi Gallery is proud to present Yoshitaka Tsuruta’s solo show “Monochrome Landscape.” This exhibition’s uniqueness is described by Kazuko Todate, the art critic, in her essay on Tsuruta’s work.
A white, belt-shaped slip covers the entire surface of the handsome shaped work. Due to the thickness of the engobe, the minute white grains assume a snow or sand like texture. The upper lines of the belt create gentle undulations resembling the ridge line of a mountain or the slope of a hill that encircle the vessel. While casting a quiet shadow across the surface of the piece, the light and shade of the slip, following the rhythm of the belt, conveys a sense of depth akin to a natural landscape.
Nagasaka, Yamanashi Prefecture, where the artist Tsuruta Yoshitaka has his studio, is about two hours from Tokyo by train. The area is blessed with clear air and an abundance of nature. The window of Tsuruta’s studio offers a glimpse of the majestic shape of the Yatsugatake mountains. According to the season, and even over the course of a single day, the landscape continues to change with each passing moment.
Avoiding an explanatory approach to the natural forms that have accumulated daily in his memory, Tsuruta expresses them in exceedingly symbolic and stoic terms. And rather than depicting his subject directly with a brush, Tsuruta’s decorative style, an indirect technique based mainly on masking, allows him to organize and abstract the content of his expression. Moreover, without adding an excess of color, he creates a worldview founded solely on the relationship between the black clay and the white slip.
By passing through this tranquil monotone realm, familiar scenes are transformed by the artist into a fantastic world. Within which lies a highly refined Japanese sensibility.